I have been trying to get back on here but found little motivation. Why you ask? The novelty has worn off. Walking pasts goats on my way to work, riding in tricycles as my prime mode of transportation, showering in cold water, etc. just feels like a way of life now. And along with that, also work. Now this is a shame because a lot has gone on these past few months, but luckily i finally found some motivation! Read on…
Yesterday i got a phone call from my supervisor about how i received a letter from the Red Cross. As it is, mail really excites me. Especially when it’s not from Peace Corps, no offense, Peace Corps, but receiving my vitamins doesn’t really tickle my fancy. So i excitedly open up this letter and after scanning it, it is a proposal for a HIV/AIDS workshop for various community members in collaboration with me! Not just me, but inclusive of those i work with on HIV/AIDS, my two amazing counterparts [Mylene and Nina] and my 10 youth. Upon reading this letter i am just way too excited and want to speak to the person designated at Red Cross for coordinating this with me right away! As Mark and i are talking logistics, he told me that HIV/AIDS education is something Ilocos Sur (my province) has really been wanting to push, and after our World AIDS Day Celebration he knew he had partners in the city for the cause and it motivated his Red Cross Chapter! I had to let that sink in for a moment, a project put on by our youth spurred more interest and is turning into something bigger. Wow.
Rewind a little, if you happened to catch my blog from a few months ago, i wrote about waiting on the approval of a grant so a few of my peers and i could hold a regional HIV/AIDS workshop, well the grant went through, and we did! This workshop included HIV/AIDS 101, the situation in the Philippines, Gender inclusive of a condom demonstration and all, and a testimonial from someone living with HIV/AIDS. Over the 3-day workshop we saw so much growth among our 76 participants. Light bulbs were constantly going off. The last day, each group was responsible for preparing an action plan for their respective communities (7 different communities were represented) and fast forward to World AIDS DAY, December 1, 2012, and this is the implementation of that action plan 10 of my youth put together. They planned to walk through the city while participants handed out fact cards about HIV/AIDS. The walk ended at a local high school where a candlelight vigil and flight of lanterns took place. This project was youth lead and involved 200+ people. To say that i was proud of our youth would be an understatement. So this is the project that inspired Red Cross to further the HIV/AIDS cause and partner with us. Here in Peace Corps, we are constantly striving towards the big “S” – sustainability. It is a difficult thing to achieve, and up until yesterday, i was unsure about my contribution towards something sustainable here. I am now confident that HIV/AIDS education will continue without my absence. Yesterday was a good day!
It’s been good in general. Last weekend i had some visitors. We were talking about how projects and attitudes at site, and our’s included, are rolling in the direction they should be, we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel! That Sunday, a local friend of mine, Janina, who is turning out to be a really good friend, hosted a potluck at her house. The prettiest house in the land! Seriously, though, i wish i had taken a picture, because my friends and i voted it the BEST house in the Philippines. Yep, seriously. Included in the prettiest house in the land was an oven. Pause for a moment, yes, oven. Ovens are a rarity for us. My apartment does not have one, most houses do not here, i’m not even sure how many i’ve seen. Anyways, my friends and i knew we had to take full advantage of this. The product? Apple pie crumble. And to take the perfection to another level, Janina said that vanila ice cream was a supplementary, yet necessary component to our dish. Thus, after a year and a half without, we got to end our weekend with an apple pie a la monde. Delightful!